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Rob Roy vs Manhattan: Which is a Better Option?

Are you overwhelmed with the options available for your next cocktail?

Do you want to try something new and delicious that’s sure to impress? Rob Roy or Manhattan- it’s a difficult choice but we can help.

In this blog, we’ll explore the similarities and differences between these two classic cocktails to help you make an informed decision.

Ready for an adventure in mixology? Let’s dive in.

What is a Rob Roy?

A Rob Roy is a classic cocktail that is similar to a Manhattan.

It consists of Scotch whisky, sweet vermouth, and bitters.

However, unlike a Manhattan, a Rob Roy uses Scotch instead of rye whiskey.

This subtle difference results in a unique flavor profile that appeals to those who prefer their cocktails to be less sweet.

The Rob Roy is often served in a martini glass with a cherry garnish but can also be enjoyed on the rocks.

When preparing a Rob Roy, it is important to use high-quality ingredients as the flavors are not masked by excessive sweetness or other ingredients.

Additionally, different whiskies can be used to create variations in flavor profiles, adding complexity to the drink.

Some bartenders add smoky Islay whisky to their Rob Roys for an extra layer of depth.

Overall, deciding between a Rob Roy and Manhattan ultimately comes down to personal preference in terms of flavor.

While both cocktails are similar and share many ingredients, the subtle differences can result in vastly different taste experiences for drinkers.

What is a Manhattan?

Manhattan is a classic cocktail made with whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters.

It is typically served in a martini glass with a cherry garnish.

The origins of the drink are uncertain, but it is believed to have originated in New York City in the late 19th century.

The name “Manhattan” is thought to have come from the city’s borough of the same name.

When it comes to taste and preference, Manhattan offers a bold and sophisticated flavor profile.

The combination of whiskey, vermouth, and bitters creates a perfect balance between sweetness and bitterness in every sip.

It’s a great choice for those who love strong cocktails and enjoy trying different variations of classic drinks.

Differences Between Rob Roy and Manhattan

Rob Roy and Manhattan are two popular cocktails that have been enjoyed for decades.

Both of these drinks have their unique ingredients, tastes and textures that set them apart from one another.

When comparing Rob Roy and Manhattan, there are several differences to consider:

  • The origin of each cocktail is different – Rob Roy was created in Scotland while Manhattan originated in the United States.
  • The base liquor used is also different – Rob Roy uses Scotch whisky whereas Manhattan uses American whiskey.
  • The vermouth used in both cocktails varies – sweet vermouth is commonly used in a Manhattan, while dry vermouth is the preferred choice for a Rob Roy.

Another crucial difference between these two cocktails is their taste profile.

While similar in structure, they taste vastly different due to variations in ingredients – Rob Roy tends to be smokier and slightly sweeter than its counterpart as it relies on Scotch’s signature flavor profile whereas Manhattan has a more classic whiskey taste with a hint of sweetness.

1 – Whiskey Variation

Comparing the Two Iconic Whiskeys – Rob Roy and Manhattan, can be a tough job.

Both are made with Rye Whiskey, but with different ingredients.

The former is blended with Sweet Vermouth while the latter uses Dry Vermouth with a dash of Angostura Bitters.

However, some mixologists prefer to add more bitters to their Manhattan for an extra punch.

Nonetheless, both whiskeys have a unique taste that caters to different palates.

2 – Vermouth Variation

Adding a touch of vermouth to a cocktail can elevate its flavor profile.

When it comes to the Rob Roy and Manhattan cocktails, there are different variations of vermouth that can be used to create a unique taste.

Carpano Antica Formula or Punt e Mes can be used in the Manhattan for a bold and bitter undertone, while Dolin Rouge or Martini & Rossi Rosso Vermouth can add a sweeter balance.

The Rob Roy, on the other hand, calls for exclusively sweet vermouth such as Carpano Antica Formula or Bonal Gentiane Quina to bring out the signature caramel notes.

Experimenting with different types and brands of vermouth can lead to discovering your own special twist on these classic cocktails.

3 – Bitters Variation

Bitters play a crucial role in the taste and flavor of cocktails like Rob Roy and Manhattan.

The choice of bitters is essential to bring out the unique essence of the cocktail.

Here are three significant differences in bitters for both Cocktails:

  • Manhattan uses Angostura bitters, which brings subtle herbal notes, while Rob Roy has Peychaud’s bitters known for its strong anise flavor.
  • Rob Roy also pairs well with orange bitters, while Manhattan does not.
  • The addition of chocolate bitters heightens the flavors in a Manhattan cocktail.

It is worth noting that while the variation in bitters may seem small, it can significantly change the overall taste and essence of the drink.

When it comes to selecting a cocktail, understanding the different variation in bitters can help make an informed decision on which to choose.

Each variation has its unique combination that suits distinct palates.

Similarities Between Rob Roy and Manhattan

Both Rob Roy and Manhattan have certain similarities that make them a great choice for individuals seeking classy cocktails.

They both contain sweet vermouth, which gives them a unique flavor.

Moreover, they have similar preparation methods, combining multiple ingredients with ice and serving them in a glass.

However, one significant difference between the two is their base liquor, where Rob Roy uses scotch whiskey as its base spirit while Manhattan uses rye or bourbon.

Additionally, Rob Roy is named after Scottish folk hero Robert Roy MacGregor, while Manhattan has an unclear origin story involving Lady Randolph Churchill from New York.

Overall, both drinks offer distinct flavors and charm to cocktail enthusiasts.

Therefore, choosing between the two depends on individual preferences and taste buds.

Glassware and Garnish

The presentation of a cocktail plays a crucial role in its overall appeal.

The choice of glassware and garnish can elevate the aesthetic appeal of your drink and enhance its flavors.

Glassware options like a highball or lowball is suitable for cocktails like Rob Roy or Manhattan, respectively.

Garnishes such as lemon twists or cherry can add an additional layer of flavor and complexity to the cocktail.

Choosing the right glassware and garnish depends on the type of cocktail being served.

A Rob Roy, which is made with scotch whiskey, vermouth, and bitters is best served in a highball glass with a maraschino cherry as a garnish.

A Manhattan, on the other hand, is made with rye whiskey, vermouth, and bitters is typically served in a lowball glass with a citrus twist or cherry as garnish.

While both cocktails use similar ingredients, their presentation can be customized based on personal preference and taste profile.

Experimenting with different glassware options such as coupes or Collins glasses can create unique visual appeal.

Similarly, playing around with different garnishes such as orange slices or cranberries can add unique flavors to the mix.

How to Make a Rob Roy and Manhattan?

To prepare the classic cocktails, Rob Roy and Manhattan, one must be familiar with their distinctive characteristics.

Mastering these concoctions requires a keen eye for detail and precision in proportions, but the result is worth it.

Below are some points to guide you in making these two delicious drinks.

  • Rob Roy: To create this drink, combine 2 ounces of scotch whiskey, 1 ounce of sweet vermouth, and two dashes of Angostura Bitters into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake until well combined and strain into a chilled glass. Add a cherry or orange peel as garnish.
  • Manhattan: This cocktail follows a similar preparation process but with different ingredients. Mix 2 ounces of rye whiskey, 1 ounce of sweet vermouth, and three dashes of Angostura Bitters in a shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled martini glass. Serve it up straight or over rocks.

Interestingly, while both cocktails share similarities in bourbon whisky usage and sweet vermouth content, the difference lies primarily in the type of whiskey used (bourbon for Manhattan; scotch for Rob Roy).

Go forth and experiment; happy mixing.

Taste Comparison: Rob Roy vs Manhattan

When it comes to taste, deciding between a Rob Roy or Manhattan can be a difficult choice.

Both share similar ingredients, yet have distinct differences in preparation and proportions which lead to variations in flavor.

The Rob Roy is typically made with Scotch whisky, sweet vermouth and Angostura bitters.

The Manhattan, on the other hand, is made with rye whisky (or bourbon), sweet vermouth and aromatic bitters.

While both drinks share similarities in terms of sweetness and depth of flavor, the Rob Roy is known for its smoky notes due to the use of Scotch whisky, while the Manhattan has a spicier note from the use of rye whiskey.

Additionally, the type of vermouth used can also alter the flavor profile.

Typically, sweet vermouth is used in both drinks but substituting dry vermouth can result in a drier cocktail with less sweetness.

Ultimately, when it comes to choosing between a Rob Roy or Manhattan based on taste preferences alone, it depends on whether you prefer smokier or spicier notes in your drink.

However, experimentation with different measures and types of ingredients may yield even more nuances worth exploring.


Comparing Rob Roy and Manhattan has led us to conclude that both cocktails have their unique taste and blend.

However, the choice between these two ultimately comes down to personal preference and occasion.

It’s important to choose your cocktail based on your individual taste preference but also take into account occasions or food pairings where one would be more fitting than the other.

For instance, Manhattan can make an excellent choice for dinner parties paired with red meats while Rob Roy would be better suited for after-dinner events or intimate gatherings with friends.

Rob Roy vs Manhattan: Which is a Better Option?

Andrew Gray
Pondering the choice between Rob Roy and Manhattan cocktails? Explore our comparison to select the libation that suits your taste buds.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course This vs That
Servings 1 Serving


  • Rob Roy
  • Manhattan


  • Choose between two items based on your preference and availability.
  • Follow the cooking directions for your chosen option, using the appropriate ratio of ingredients.
  • Prepare it according to your desired recipes.
  • Incorporate them into your dish, adjusting the amount to suit your taste.
  • Enjoy the unique taste experience and experiment with different dishes to explore their versatility.
Keyword Rob Roy vs Manhattan
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